Private Rental Markets

Almost a quarter of all low & moderate-income households live in the private rental market.  The proportion of households living in the private rental market has been increasing steadily over the past few decades – increasing from 20.3% of households to 23.4% between 1981 and 2011. Unlike some other countries, the level of security and rights available to them in this tenure are very low.  As a result, they are forced to move frequently; and often put up with poor standards of accommodation.

Private rents are unaffordable for most lower income private renters. Since 2007 rents have been increasing faster than earnings. 62% of lower income private renters are in housing stress.  Single and older renters are at the greatest risk of living in poverty.

And because low income renters do not always have access to the properties that are available at a rent they could afford, in NSW we have a shortfall of 75,600 rental properties that are affordable and available for very low income renters- and around 130,000 for very low and low incomes combined.

Despite this, the amount of social housing is falling and there is no sign governments will to increase the supply of affordable rental housing.  In fact, we are now seeing a policy response that says that lower income households should learn (or be give initial support) to sustain private tenancies – despite the market’s structural unaffordability, insecurity & poor location.

Shelter & the private market

Shelter works with other policy & advocacy bodies (like the NSW Tenants’ Union) to advocate for changes in tenancy law.We also undertake research, education and general awareness of the continually deepening failure of the private rental market to meet the needs of low-income households.We particularly argue for ways to increase the supply of affordable rental housing.

Recently we have:

  • Held a conference on Possibilities and Realities: private rental housing as a solution?
  • Produced a joint report on the effectiveness of Commonwealth Rent Assistance
  • A submission on the adequacy of allowance system
  • A submission on the exposure draft of a boarding house bills